A bipartisan marijuana research bill that’s scheduled for a House committee vote on Wednesday is poised to be amended to allow scientists to access cannabis products directly from state-legal markets for research purposes.
The Energy and Commerce Committee announced last week that members would be marking up the Medical Marijuana Research Act. But one day before the vote, an amendment in the nature of a substitute was released that contains several notable changes.
In general, the bill would accomplish two goals: First, it would establish a simplified registration process for researchers interested in studying cannabis, in part by reducing approval wait times, minimizing costly security requirements and eliminating additional layers of protocol review.
Second, it would expand the sources of research-grade cannabis that certified scientists would be able to obtain the products. That could resolve an issue identified by researchers and lawmakers, who complain that marijuana produced at the only existing federally authorized facility at the University of Mississippi is difficult to access and is chemically closer to hemp than cannabis available on the commercial market.